A ‘populist uprising’ is stirring across Europe in the wake of the migration crisis, a former MI6 chief warned yesterday.
Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the Secret Intelligence Service from 1999-2004, slammed the EU’s ‘hesitant’ response to the millions arriving from Africa and Asia and warned of the impact on wider society.
But the retired spook admitted that working together is the only way to solve the crisis. He urged EU chiefs to show the public it has a grip of the crisis or risk mass uprisings across the continent.
“If Europe cannot act together to persuade a significant majority of its citizens that it can gain control of its migratory crisis, then the EU will find itself at the mercy of a populist uprising, which is already stirring,” he said.
“The stakes are very high -and the UK referendum is the first role of the dice in a bigger geopolitical game.”
Sir Richard said the EU’s approach so far has been “hesitant and irresolute” and attacked the deal that will give Turkish tourists access to Europe’s borderless Schengen zone in return for stemming the flow of people across the Aegean sea.
“For the EU to offer visa-free access to 75million Turks to stem the flow of migrants across the Aegean seems perverse – like storing gasoline next to the fire we are trying to extinguish,” he said.
But he admitted that following the deal the exodus has slowed” and made clear only working across borders can Europe cope with the crisis.
“A massive European response is probably the only answer,” he said.
His comments come as a new report by right-wing campaign group MigrationWatch claims immigration has not had the positive economic effect on Britain that most experts claim.
The pressure group said European migration has been broadly cost-neutral for Britain since 2001.
But it claimed overall people moving here from outside Europe has cost the country £17billion since records began.